When Carl and I moved to Alameda in 1973, I knew nobody. And he barely knew anybody. We’d just gotten married and started lives together. We hardly knew each other. He was embarking on his dream of becoming a yacht designer. I was all for it. I’d never known anyone with such a vision of a goal and dedication to it. And me? I’d never had a problem being creative about getting work. I either created it just tried to find a hole and fill the void!
Alameda was tough. It was hard to find groups of folks. The roots seemed to grow deeper than the houses are old. Generations belonged to the typical civic clubs, the political clubs, church clubs, the good old boys clubs, and the good old ladies clubs. We had to go somewhere else to find vibrancy. Occasional trips to coffee houses in Berkeley seemed to do that. We walked to the Alameda Theatre for a movie. And then that closed.
But if it’s not your time to be chewed up and spit out, ya hang in there. And so we did. It took me over a year to even have a sense that I knew anybody. When I wasn’t working at my part time job as a Clerk Typist II for the California Youth Authority at a center at 28th and San Pablo in Oakland (now that was rough, and I can tell you first hand about watching a corrupt system), I rode my bike all over Alameda, trying to get to know it. Carl worked for a designer in one of the first buildings at Mariner Square. He’d ride his bike to work, and then I’d ride up to meet him and we’d ride back. We decided long ago that the length of Pacific Avenue pretty much represented the town as a whole. It literally changed from block to block. And it still is that way.
A local barber was the Mayor. Where was I, in Mayberry? Chuck Corica admitted he didn’t know everything (a rarity for an elected official) and I’m told he created citizen appointed committees to oversee each department of the City, then report back to him. Maybe it takes giving shaves and haircuts for six bits (a bit =12.5 cents) being in and among the people to get a clue about how the bureaucracy works (or doesn’t).
The local internet of the day was Alameda Times-Star was locally owned, run, published daily. Editor Abe Kofman championed Alameda Meals on Wheels . Today, his nephew Ed, along with the talented board of directors continues to steer that group under the premise of ‘for all Alamedans, by Alamedans.’ AMOW receives NO government assistance. Rosemary Reilly has run the day to day operations for years and there are no more dedicated volunteers than those who work for AMOW, distributing meals and visits.
Measure A had just been passed. This effectively stopped the demolition of large Victorians and halted the construction ugly box apartment building in their place.
People did care about what they had! They were starting to get a clue.
As Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was our sense of home built overnight in Alameda. But it came. And if we had believed what so many older folks were telling us about young people not coming to Alameda anymore because it was too expensive, then we’d have sentenced ourselves to living in a dying town.
But over the years old thoughts have died and or disappeared. In hindsight we came at an amazing time of shifting sands in Alameda. It’s taken decades to bring that sense of vibrancy back. And it’s good. And diverse. And people have opinions. And it will no longer be business as usual for our schools and city government, or anything! People care and care deeply. And are more open about it. And more thoughtful.
We were so blessed to have had a couple of dear people ‘adopt us’ and take us under their wings during our prolonged ‘figure out the town’ period. And their touches have continued on with a lovely core group of family that is maybe more like family than family.
And I’m so grateful to be here. In Alameda.
That being said, as is my custom over the years, I take a break from writing The Second Story during the month of December. The blog has been a great learning experience and the natural outcome of the private weekly email I did for 8 years until last May. I’m open to new ideas so if you have any I might apply to this endeavor, please let me know.
Real estate this week in Alameda…
With the holidays now here, things do slow down.
Check out how much junk has sold for in the past couple of weeks. WAY over what it would have sold for if it hadn’t been priced at super-perceived discounts. And note what too high has resulted in on the others.
Active listings 175, 185 last report
Pending listings 60, 66 last report
Highest priced new listing Click Here to View Listings
Lowest priced new listing Click Here to View Listings
Tuesday tour 2 Click Here to View Listings
New listings 2 Click Here to View Listings
Price changes 5 Click Here to View Listings
Pending 7 Click Here to View Listings
Sold 9 Click Here to View Listings
Expired 8 Click Here to View Listings
Withdrawn/cancelled 4 Click Here to View Listings
Listing awards this week…remember this is only my perspective!
Winner Click Here to View Listings
Get Me To Rehab Click Here to View Listings
Carry on! Marilyn